Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community

Elite care for weekend warriors

Fall 2007

Play eases the anxiety of Bernard Dannenberg's young patient.

Tim McAdams (left) and Gary Fanton, co-team doctors for the 49ers, stand ready at the sideline.

Ask any sports medicine doctor at Stanford what he or she is doing this fall, and the answer is likely to include watching the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have selected Stanford to provide orthopedic and sports medicine care for the team, offering medical assistance at home and away games, and providing orthopedic care for the athletes off the field to maintain their health and improve their performance.

The same extraordinary care afforded to these elite athletes is available to anyone with a sports medicine or overuse injury through Stanford’s Sports Medicine Clinic—Super Bowl ring or not.

“When it comes to injury management, all of our patients receive the same level of care we provide the San Francisco 49ers,” said Gary S. Fanton, MD, chief of the Division of Sports Medicine and clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford. “Everything we learn from caring for these top athletes translates to improved care for all of our patients.”

Fanton, along with Tim McAdams, MD, an assistant professor of orthopedics, will be spending every weekend on the sidelines with the 49ers this fall and winter. But they are not alone in caring for such a select group of athletes. Each of the physicians in the Division of Sports Medicine at Stanford has extensive experience working with professional athletes. According to Professor of Orthopedics Marc R. Safran, MD, that level of expertise has a dramatic effect on patient care at Stanford.

“By treating elite athletes, we learn a lot about the limits of the human body and what we can do to get people back to their former level of activity quicker without causing further injury,” he explained. “We learn about what the body can do from these fine-tuned athletes, and we apply those principles to the care of all of our patients, most of whom are recreational athletes such as weekend tennis players, softball players, skiers, cyclists and runners.”

The Stanford sports medicine team consists of orthopedic surgeons, fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, and physical therapists, all working collaboratively to help patients recover as quickly as possible and return to their former level of activity safely. Together they treat a full range of sports injuries, including arthroscopic and surgical management of knee injuries (anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage tears); sports-related shoulder trauma (rotator cuff tears and instability); arthroscopic repair of the hip, wrist, elbow and ankle; and overuse injuries of the lower extremity (groin, hamstring, patellofemoral, iliotibial band, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and stress fractures).

Stanford’s sports medicine doctors also play a big role in helping Stanford athletes stay healthy.

Through the Department of Athletics, the sports medicine team provides medical services to 850 Stanford athletes on 35 intercollegiate teams. Services to Stanford Athletics include diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for acute and overuse musculoskeletal injuries, as well as diagnosis and treatment of medical illnesses that are prevalent among active sports participants, such as exercise-induced asthma and runner’s anemia.

“We treat any medical problem that interferes with performance, from cardiovascular disease to eating disorders,” said Gordon Matheson, MD, PhD, director of the Sports Medicine Program for Stanford Athletics. The program operates out of a new facility that houses physicians and physical therapists, and a biomechanics and physiology lab where serious athletes receive individualized care, testing and counseling.

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